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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Malcolm Turnbull: Whaling is "barbaric"

Australia's new Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia is opposed to "the resumption of barbaric commercial whaling by Iceland".

Mr. Turnbull would be well advised to have a kit-kat. This sort of language is unbecoming of a representative of a member of the international community such as Australia.

Such words would also be slightly inflammatory too, if the whaling peoples of the world hadn't already become indifferent to it (it's several years now since former New Zealand Conservation Minister Sandra Lee set a new low standard by describing whaling as "despicable").

Turnbull suggests that Iceland's decision to resume commercial whaling is in breach of the international commercial whaling moratorium. This is for the legal experts to ponder (should they care to), but the simple reality is that there is nothing to stop Iceland from withdrawing from the ICRW once again and permitting it's whalers to carry on, either way.

Mr. Turnbull can describe whaling as "barbaric" as much as he and his domestic constituents like, but this reality isn't going to change. Which leads one to ask, to whom are Mr. Turnbull's comments actually directed?

* * *

The Minister provides an illustration of the confidence of the extreme anti-whaling nations' willingness to oppose whaling on non-scientific grounds:
"Australia is implacably opposed to commercial whaling"
Indeed it is, but this statement contrasts with Australia's position on the "moratorium" decision when it was adopted at the 1982 IWC meeting:
"Australia believed that the [moratorium] proposal was a good solution to the various interests of the whaling industry and the conservation of whales."
Today Australia no longer pretends that it has any concern for the interests of the whaling industry, and it's position clearly has nothing to do with conservation either, as evidenced by Australia's "implacable" opposition to exploitation of even abundant minke whale stocks.

Turnbull explains that:
Australia considers Iceland’s reservation incompatible with the purpose of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.
Iceland's recent moves appear to be entirely compatible with the purpose of the ICRW, whereas Australia's own "implacable" opposition to commercial whaling is clearly not.

One wonders if dropping the facade of acting in accordance with the spirit and purpose of the ICRW may one day come back to haunt Australia and other such extreme anti-whaling nations.

* * *

On Iceland's decision to unilaterally resume commercial whaling:
"It has done so without any assessment by the International Whaling Commission or its scientific committee," Mr Turnbull said.
The International Whaling Commission is just a political grandstanding forum for those with extremist positions like Mr Turnbull to talk about how "barbaric" they think whalers are. I'm not sure what kind of incentive Mr Turnbull thinks the Icelanders have for raising the issue with the IWC while it remains in such a dysfunctional state.

Furthermore, the tiny numbers of whales that Iceland has permitted it's whalers to catch during the current season will have only a neglible impact on the relevant whale stocks. The scientific committee is planning an RMP implementation for the North Atlantic fin whale, believed to number at least 20,200, and perhaps as many as 33,000. Iceland's quota of 9 fin whales therefore represents just 0.045% of the lower end of the accepted abundance estimate. The rate of natural mortality in the North Atlantic fin whale population is likely around 100 times higher, illustrating just how insignificant the quota is in conservation terms.

Introductory literature on the RMP suggests that initial catch limits would be "less than half a percent of the estimated population size".

Thus, the 0.045% of the estimated population size that the quota of 9 fin whales represents is perhaps more than 10 times smaller than the catch limit that the highly conservative RMP might initially set with respect to the North Atlantic fin whale stock.

* * *

Mr Turnbull has a particular complaint with regards to the fin whales:
"Fin whales are listed under the IUCN (International Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species as endangered, which sadly means they face a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future."
One has to question whether Turnbull is serious in this criticism, given that Australia itself continues to permit it's own people to exploit other species that are also on the Red List, and not just "Endangered" species, but some that are "Critically Endangered". Moreover, to make it even more difficult for the Minister to reconcile his above criticism with his nation's own standards, Australia allows exports of the products of the exploited "Critically Endangered" species to overseas markets.
"Iceland has a modern, prosperous economy with no need to hunt endangered whales."
Presumably Mr. Turnbull thinks Australia does not possess a modern, prosperous economy, and thus can justify it's own exploitation of "Critically Endangered" species on those grounds?

* * *

Here's some self-congratulatory information from the Australian government:
"While Australia's laws concerning wildlife trade are some of the most stringent in the world, they are not intended to obstruct the sustainable activities of legitimate organisations and individuals. Instead they have been designed to demonstrate that, when managed effectively, wildlife trade contributes to and is entirely compatible with the objectives of wildlife conservation."
Contrast this with Turnbull's statements:
“I find it very perplexing that like Australia, Iceland has a burgeoning whale watching industry which provides far greater commercial benefits than killing whales, and allows our people and tourists to learn about the great whales”
No doubt the Icelanders, who have a burgeoning whaling industry which provides complementary commercial benefits to the whale watching industry are perplexed as to why Australia chooses to forgo such opportunities for sustainable development. Especially given that Australia continues to exploit other species regarded by the IUCN as "Critically Endangered" with a seemingly clear conscience.

* * *

I had hoped for an improvement from Mr. Turnbull over his predecessor, Ian Campbell. He hasn't made a promising start.

Mr Turnbull can be contacted here:

Labels: ,

Wanna stop exploitation of Australian critically endangered species - stand up for stop instead of whaling start! How would whaling help those species? Of course, that's for the case you are concerned about them, not just trying to mock at Mr.Turnbull...

You're advocating for slaughter - someday names of such guys like you will be written on the shame page of history.
Exploitation of the earth's wild animal resources is perfectly acceptable providing that it is conducted on a sustainable basis.

Please read about sustainable exploitation before posting further comments of that nature.
>You're advocating for slaughter - >someday names of such guys like >you will be written on the shame >page of history.

No.If your guess were right,
all of the pro-whaling members
from a citizen to the prime
ministers would have been written on the same list.

It does not seem to me they are
so foolish as you think.

In stead you worry about them,
all you have to do is to know
for yourself why the world needs IWC.

"Member for Kingsford Smith
Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Heritage
Shadow Minister for the Arts

14 February 2007

Want to know what’s happening in Australian waters?
Ask the Japanese whalers

The Australian Government has revealed how it monitors illegal whaling in our waters – it asks the Japanese whalers what’s happening.

Yesterday, the Department of the Environment and Water Resources revealed before Senate Estimates that numbers of whales slaughtered in Australian waters were “submitted by Japan to the IWC,” and if Australia wanted to know what was happening in its own whale sanctuary, “that data is made available through the IWC.”

That’s like asking a burglar for a list of stolen goods.

The Howard Government refuses to send surveillance vessels to the Southern Ocean, arguing no useful purpose would be served. Apparently, monitoring illegal activities in Australian waters is not ‘useful’.

This week has illustrated the Howard Government’s approach to illegal whaling – standing on the sidelines, mouthing platitudes, while an ugly drama of high-seas chases, pirate vessels and collisions unfolded.

The actions of Sea Shepherd were irresponsible. It should never fall to non-government organisations to enforce Australian law.

Just as irresponsible is Japan’s expanded slaughter of whales under a flimsy scientific pretext, and its attempts to re-commercialise the whaling industry.

Protecting whales – and preserving our $ 300 million whale-watching industry – requires more than Howard Government platitudes.

A Rudd Labor Government will pull out all stops in the international courts to stop whaling for all time.

I aggree 100% with Labor, they are getting my vote.

It's good to see both parites are against whaling:)

"Mr. Turnbull would be well advised to have a kit-kat."

Whats this? Free advertising?

Definition of barbaric

1. without civilizing influences; uncivilized; primitive: barbaric invaders.
2. of, like, or befitting barbarians: a barbaric empire; barbaric practices.
3. crudely rich or splendid: barbaric decorations.

S/A from Melbourne
(normally I wouldn’t respond to your posts, but because this involves Australian politics I’ve made an exception :)

S/A from Melbourne
Labor will never take the Japanese government to court because they know that Australia would lose such a case.

That's the precise reason why the Howard government has not already brought forward a court case.

Australia has previously taken Japan to court over a Southern Bluefin Tuna issue some years ago, and I believe they eventually got victory of sorts, but with regards to the whaling issue, Japan would love to be taken to court over the issue. Australia losing the case would signal to the world that Japan's actions (and similar actions by other nations in accordance with the ICRW) are legal. This would be a huge propaganda loss for the anti-whaling movement.

* * *

To have a kit-kat means to "have a break".

Describing whaling people as "barbaric" is just silly. Mr. Turnbull is not a primary school child playing in a sandpit with the other kids. He is representing Australia in the international community. He needs to have a break and think about that before saying such silly things.
>Describing whaling people >as "barbaric" is just silly.

Yes! If we are barbaric,
there are much to say to Ausies.

Ausies are having kangaroos.

Ausies are having some kinds of caterpillars
Barbaric and primitive.

Ausies are killig sheep and
export them to Japan.
More barbaric.

Ausies are supporting SS
of terrorists.
Barbaric and crazy.

Then, your answer?

S/A from Melbourne chan,
do not make me laugh any more.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Silly comments calling whaling peoples "assholes" is even sillier than calling them "barbaric".

Such silly comments (especially from anonymous posters) are not suitable here.
As much as I absolutely deplore David's support for commercial whaling, at least he is deleting posts for the right reasons.

Personal attacks such as naming people assholes doesn't win arguments.

Finally we have something we agree on.

Ausies are supporting SS
of terrorists.
Barbaric and crazy.

Please Y/H(Japan) try not to be so cynical and blinded by the Japanese propaganda. Look I know you like eating whale meat, but you go too far really with your terrorist claims.

If Paul were a terrorist he would be arrested by Federal Police apon arrival to Melbourne docklands.

If SSCS were terrorists why did the Japanese crew offer to help when two crewmembers were lost? I thought they had a policy not to communicate with terrorists?

As you know there are many fish in the sea besides whales that can be eaten. Why do you have to persist this valiant effort to eat whales?

Anyway I suggest you read this interesting article.

What’s in a name – Pirate, Eco Warrior or simply Stateless?
Date: Thursday, 15 February 2007
University of Queensland law lecturer Dr Rachel Baird writes:

An interesting side issue associated with the recent high seas collision between the Sea Shepherd boat, Robert Hunter and Japanese whaling boat, Kaiko Maru, is the status of the two Sea Shepherd boats operating in the Southern Ocean. The Farley Mowat has been deregistered, first by Canada and more recently by Belize, whilst the Robert Hunter has reportedly been advised of its impending deregistration by the United Kingdom.

If deregistered, then under international law the two boats become Stateless vessels or vessels without nationality. Not as catchy as the term ‘pirate vessel’ yet a more accurate description of their status.
Piracy and the label ‘pirates’ are convenient terms being used with increasing frequency to refer to rogue boats whose operators flout international and regional laws governing the uses of the sea. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing boats are often labelled pirate vessels, usually by politicians, industry groups and NGOs. The term is emotive and evokes the desired public response.

Japanese whalers are sometimes called pirates. Now the Sea Shepherd boats are to be called pirate vessels simply by virtue of losing their registration? This is stretching the application of the law too far. It’s enough to make international lawyers the world over grind their collective teeth.
The customary and codified international law definition of piracy is one that would aptly apply to Captain Jack and the Black Pearl. Essentially (for it is a convoluted definition) piracy involves illegal acts of violence or detention committed, against another ship, for private ends on the high seas.

It is even questionable whether politically inspired acts would fall within the definition. The term armed robbery is often used in conjunction with piracy and it assists one to visualise the essence of piracy. In late December 2006 two black clad men climbed aboard a container ship and, armed with crowbars, stole equipment.

Modern day pirates seek valuable communications equipment and stores and are often opportunistic in their targeting of merchant vessels. Piracy is still very prevalent with favoured pirate haunts located in the seas of South East Asia and adjacent to the West African coast. Stateless boats steaming the high seas campaigning against whaling do not fit the definition. Someone has to set the record straight on piracy; it may as well be an international lawyer.

S/A from Melbourne
S/A from Melbolne - chan,

Thank you for your reply.
Before I write some comments as below,please let me clear some points.

Basically as you also feel,
your country is friendly to Japan and the important business partners same as the NZ,David-san's country.

I have never been to both either,
but my parents vistied AU,and they say AU is wonderful and very nice.

Unfortunately,with regard to the whaling issue,the situation is the reverse.It seems to me that is something we cannnot avoid,because the culture of whaling is entirely different from one another.

The whaling culture of Japan has been existing for more than 1000years.It is a kind of our way of life as a country surrouded by seas.Though some people like
anti-whaling NGO are strongly
we are not having whale meat
anymore,It is clear whales are one of our food choices.Besides whales as a food,they enabled us to create many kinds of cultures;tools for music instruments,medicine,songs and so on.

So,if somebody of anti-whaling says whaling is "barbaric",it means much insult to our country.
No country wants to be called
barbaric.Right?I know our neighberhood country Chinese people are having lovely dogs!(A supermarket of Chinese people in our district sells dog meat.)I feel it barbaric,but that is NOT something we should say in the presence of Chinese people.

>Please Y/H(Japan) try not to be >so cynical and blinded by the >Japanese propaganda.
>Why do you have to persist this >valiant effort to eat whales?

Sorry, I am a pure Japanese.I am whale eater.(As you like, please think me barbaric:-))I like to cook whale meat and make some dishes.In winter,we enjoy hot whale soup.In summer,we enjoy the
boiled and sliced skin of whales with MISO vinegar.I am not misled by SS and GP Japan.

>If Paul were a terrorist he would >be arrested by Federal Police >apon arrival to Melbourne >docklands.

I understand you like to support
SS for the sake of whales.Watson's enthusiasm to protect whales is understandable to some extent.

But you should look into their
violence history and not overlook
their insane behavior.


If whaling is illegal and anti-whaling counrties want us to stop whaling,they have to do it with political ways.There is no room for an anti-whaling NGO to disrupt our research authorized by IWC.

>If SSCS were terrorists why did
>the Japanese crew offer to help >when two crewmembers were lost?

Please remember there is the strong doubt that the two people
tried to set to fire. When Nisshin Maru returns to Japan,Japanese marine police is to analyze the fire thoroughly in many ways. It is higly probable that SS was concerned with the fire.

Why I stick to this scenario?
The answer is simple:the aim of the crazy group is destroy the
whaling vessels.

I sincerly suggest you say "good bye" to the crazy group.
Otherwise,you will lose your
honor of anti-whaling bloc.


If you don't mind, please don't just duplicate the entire SSCS propaganda here in the comments. A link is sufficient.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
"Dre" said (amongst the rest of his diatribe which I have deleted):

Your response to any anti-whaling argument is either that they are unnaturally in love with whales or are somehow racist against Japanese culture.

It's ironic that you post such a comment when this post is specifically with regard to Malcolm Turnbull's description of Iceland's whaling as "barbaric", not Japan's. You provide as easily contradicted a null hypothesis as Mr. Turnbull.

Anti-whaling arguments invariably do come down to a question of whether one thinks whales are too good for eating or not. That is what it all boils down to.

I certainly don't think cows, chickens and fish are any less deserving of their lives than cetaceans, and it is odd that some people appear to see otherwise. Perhaps this is due to an "unnatural love" - that much I have not personally surmised however. I think most anti-whalers are simply ignorant, and anti-whaling groups use their propaganda campaigns to maintain that as the status quo.

You only base your arguments on pro-ICR data

Perhaps you don't understand the difference between the IWC Scientific Committee and the ICR. The scientific data which I refer to is generally available in IWC Scientific Committee reports. Take for example the information on catch-at-age analyses. That's leading international marine resource management scientists using data from JARPA.

I don't see why this bothers the anti-whaling people so much.

If science shows whaling can be possible, so what? Is it because they feel uncomfortable relying on non-scientific arguments in their opposition to whaling?

Like I said - ultimately the question is whether one believes that it is appropriate to regard abundant stocks of whales as a source of resources for humans or not.

and are reluctantly to stray from its official propaganda (For example, you have yet to demonstrate the purpose or the morality of the Tajii slaughter).

There is no ethical difference between killing cetaceans and killing other animals as far as I'm concerned.

If people wish to complain about animal welfare, then they should do so on a balanced basis - PETA have lots of gruesome video footage of cow slaughter, but those who are keen to criticise cetacean hunts rarely (if ever) refer to this themselves.

Finally, "Dre" / "anonymous", please have a kit-kat yourself before posting. I'm sure you are capable of doing so without being so rude.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Say "Dre" (amongst more diatribe...):

my argument is that rouge nations should not over exploit the world's resources.

You are in disagreement with the international community, go read UNCLOS very carefully, as well as the ICRW.

what a better way to keep people ignorant then to put them on a boat and taking them to the killing fields where they can see for their own eyes and broadcast to the world.

Everyone who cares about whaling one way or another obviously knows that whales are being killed.

The ignorance is in relation to international agreements and the conservation status of the whales that are targeted.

Most people who are against whaling are against because the have been spoon-fed propaganda that says "whales are endangered" since they were kids.

remember how upset you got when the NZ P-3 took the pictures of the whaling fleet?

I wasn't upset, I was surprised that the New Zealand conservation minister was able to hijack the New Zealand defence force for his propaganda purposes.

How is taking pictures keeping people ignorant?

My letter to Chris Carter illustrated the pointless and unproductive nature of his releasing the video footage, which even some in the NZ press slammed.

Scientist working to come to the conclusions of their paymasters is not science.

The scientists working on catch-at-age analyses are independant international scientists.

The only funding they receive in relation to the catch-at-age analyses comes from the IWC itself - which is funded by the IWC's member nations including the anti-whaling ones.

Why you argue the point is beyond me. Science supports the argument that whaling can be conducted on a sustainable basis. Accept it, and just let it go.

In relation to the gruesome footage from PETA you say

I do not understand your last point but it does not matter.

Read it again carefully until you do. And take a chill-pill before posting.
What's a "rouge nation"?
Is that like a colony of Can-Can dancers or summint?
I told him to have a kit-kat before posting :)

Actually I read his comment again - "nations should not over exploit the world's resources"

I missed reading the "over" before the "exploit" the first time around. With that I of course agree, but can not see how whaling today in the 21st century could be described as overexploiting. It's very modest today, and if the IWC would only implement the RMP it would be guaranteed to remain very modest in the short to medium term as well.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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